I'm a Single, Unemployed Mom in COVID-19 Pandemic

The phone rings at 8:30 am. It’s my dad asking how I am and would I like to go out to eat. I remind him, gently, that there's a pandemic dad and he responds quickly, Oh yeah. that's right.

What is this thing anyway? It comes from China?

Yes Dad.

Why does all this stuff come from China?

I change the subject, asking how he is and did he have his coffee yet today.

No, I'm about to go out for coffee now.

Every day my 91-year old dad drives his car two miles down the road, a straight shot, to Burger King. Every single day. He’s done this for years, so much so that the staff know him and refuse to charge him. He goes in to read the paper. He enters, sits down, and begins to read. Within minutes, the coffee is delivered to his table with one creamer and one packet of sugar substitute.

Before he leaves, another coffee is delivered to his table, this time decaf. He thanks the staff, collects his things, and heads out with the second coffee.

He drives to his sweetheart's home, knocks on her door. She's normally asleep. He leaves the coffee on her patio. Every single day.

But now this. The pandemic.

Dotti fell a while back and her son put her in a nursing home until she heals. It’s probable that the will remain there, age 97.

My dad would go to see her there, but he gets confused easily and is not happy that the nursing home is so far away. He complains that he wished her son would put her closer to him. He and her granddaughter live too far away from the nursing home; the son lives almost 300 miles away. It made no sense to anyone why she is there.

Fast forward to April 2020.

Burker King is closed for all customers except the drive-thru, which is actually still thriving. My dad still goes each day. Except now, he cannot see Dotti. We cannot call her either as she cannot hear anything on the phone. We actually tried to go see her recently, to find out what room she is in so we could say hi through the window. No one can give us answers at the nursing home. We dropped off drawings and baked goods. There was no receptionist. We found a nurse who was leaving for the day and she kindly went in to drop off the drawings at the nurse's station. We never found out if they actually made it her.

• • • • • • •

I'm alone in this. I cannot believe I have not dated anyone in 6 years. In that time, my ex met someone 20 years younger than me, married her, and they have two kids now. They have a house and they even built an extension onto the house. They have money, it seems a lot of it actually, and his wife shares openly online about how happy they are. It seems to be true and for the most part I am happy for them because that means Oliver is in a good home.

I struggle, not with my past, but with a depression that wants to engulf me. I fight it every single day. Some days I fight harder than others.

It’s not all-encompassing, but it could be if I let it.

There is a lot on my shoulders and I'm so tired of living poor. I realize I have more than most people. My rent is paid. I have small jobs coming in that help make the car payments, insurance, food. The neighbors have taken up a collection to help families like me out.

It’s sweet and very uplifting to have a pizza on Friday night. It’s really incredible to receive a box of fresh vegetables and fruits and even meat on Fridays for the last two weeks. Others have been equally generous, and yes, it helps. It lifts my spirits, renews my faith in my community, and gives me hope.

But the bills are piling up. The payments are on pause, but that does not mean I don't owe. Late fees are adding up too.

I don't have much credit card debt but the amount I owe businesses and utilities is pretty high and growing each month. At some point, they will be insurmountable. My energy bill is over $700 and as soon as the moratorium ends, that will come due all at once or they will cut off the electricity. No lights. It’s embarrassing.

To leave this home would be devastating for me and for Oliver. it’s not much of a home, a little apartment that is dated; the outside unkempt and falling apart. It’s an ugly house, but it’s in a nice neighborhood. We watch as friends upgrade their homes or move into bigger ones while I struggle just to stay in this ugly house.

Then I wonder what is wrong with me? Why can I not get a job? My hair is growing grayer by the day and the weight is piling on. I have been sick for a week, wondering if it’s COVID-19 (waiting for test results) and I am very alone at night when I feel awful.

THERE IS NO ONE HERE TO CARE FOR ME. There is absolutely no one in my life who will help me the way that a partner can. My friends are pretty close and I have a big support network. It’s the best and I could not ask for better friends and a better community. For the first time in years now, I wish I had not dipped into my retirement; for the first time in years, I wish I had a husband.

I am not a prize, that's how I feel. I don't think there is any man who wants to date a women who is unemployed, is operating at a deficit and is overweight. I just don't think it’s possible.

For all the problems I know people have, I will say being lonely ranks on the top of the list of Suckiness. I would rather go bankrupt with a partner by my side, having love, than to deal with life alone.

Today, I will share, it is super hard to be alone.